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Drought Fault (natural+disasters heat+wave Fall+colors sky trees ). Photo by 36Bravo
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Drought Fault

Uploaded by: 36Bravo

Thursday September 29, 2011

Alvin, TX (Current Weather Conditions)

Caption: County Road 172 sliding into the ditch as a result of the prolonged drought.

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Manufacturer: SONY

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User Comment:

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North or South Latitude: N

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East or West Longitude: W

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Display: 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted
12. summer04
1:47 PM GMT on October 02, 2011
You live and you learn. Thank you to Wunderground and all the people who know so much and can explain it so I can understand.
I hope this drought ends soon, a 7 year drought sounds awful.
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Member Since: June 1, 2004 Comments: 328
11. tngardener
12:34 PM GMT on October 01, 2011
I also experienced the 50's drought; was living in South Texas and was there when it finally broke. Terrible conditions. Killed a lot of the citrus groves.
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Member Since: June 27, 2010 Comments: 3141
10. 36Bravo
1:10 PM GMT on September 30, 2011
I agree; this drought is bad. I remember the 50's drought. It lasted 7 years and killed mesquite trees in deep South Texas!
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Member Since: July 8, 2010 Comments: 731
9. mistermel
12:52 PM GMT on September 30, 2011
I have lived in this part of Texas 72 years and this is the worst i have ever seen. I saw ground cracks 4" wide back in the 70's but nothing as bad as this. Live in West Houston now and drive in to work on Richmond Ave. There are some real nice places that make you feel like riding a roller coaster if anyone can remember those things.
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Member Since: October 8, 2010 Comments: 40
8. tamcat
12:21 PM GMT on September 30, 2011
Interesting. I didn't know that that would happen, but it makes sense with a clay foundation. -kevin :)
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Member Since: October 2, 2009 Comments: 10832
7. kaiden
12:28 AM GMT on September 30, 2011
I noticed that last weekend, we rode around the Monument and Battleship Texas in Deer Park, and all the roads had large sagging cracks.

I read earlier today that there are some streets in Houston that they will not drive Fire Trucks on, because of the sagging and leaning.

I lived in Deer park for 7 years, moved back to MS when I retired at the first of this year.
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Member Since: October 11, 2007 Comments: 119
6. janparker
8:20 PM GMT on September 29, 2011
Large cracks in blacktop are common, when the substrate is predominantly clay and there is a prolonged drought.

You can see evidence of this in the land in North Texas (and on some of my land here in Central Texas). Very large cracks form, large enough to be dangerous to cattle (and people if you're walking along and don't notice it in time) - and they are deep, sometimes a few feet deep.

They close back up when the rains come, but it takes a while for the clay to absorb enough water to swell back together.

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Member Since: May 2, 2007 Comments: 36
5. AkashaD
8:06 PM GMT on September 29, 2011
I just love this site and the people on it. The insights are educated and positive. I wish the rest of the internet was this way.
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Member Since: January 3, 2010 Comments: 3
4. RNJoel
6:20 PM GMT on September 29, 2011
Love pavement photos - its what I do. Clay has a natural affinity for water and its shape and size is dictated by the attached water molecule. When clays are allowed to dry out, as would be the case with the extreme drought in Texas, the space between clay particles can shrink. When this happens something is going to move - hence the shrinkage induced cracks in the roadway. Bentonite is one of the worst clays for this phenomenon as it has an extremely high affinity for water (large electron potential), and is often found in a non-floculated structure which is sensitive to shink and swell.
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Member Since: September 10, 2004 Comments: 6543
3. 36Bravo
5:55 PM GMT on September 29, 2011
Arbie is correct. The soil here is called Victoria clay. It contains a lot of bentonite which is an expanding clay mineral. The drought has caused huge cracks which act like fault zones. When these run along the road edge, the road bed slumps into the ditch. A bigger problem will arise when it does finally rain. The water will run into the cracks and lubricate the "fault" causing the slipping to increase.
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Member Since: July 8, 2010 Comments: 731
2. Arbie
5:25 PM GMT on September 29, 2011
I don't think he meant the damage is caused by heat. Rather, there are perhaps some very large cracks in the earth under the road, causing it to separate like that. The cracks themselves being caused by the earth shrinking from the drought.
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Member Since: December 3, 2009 Comments: 1424
1. jperilloux
5:12 PM GMT on September 29, 2011
This appears to be damage caused by water standing on asphalt for long periods rather than heat damage. Heat usually causes asphalt to push up into ridges rather than to crack. The bed under the road could also be slumping toward the open ditch.
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Member Since: March 21, 2003 Comments: 345

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About 36Bravo


Born - June 1945 Home town - Alvin, Texas. - Occupations - Student, rice farmer, soldier, research scientist, wildlife biologist, ranch hand, professional wild hog trapper, county jailer, retiree.Interests - Hunting (not so much now), fishing, fly tying, gardening, travel, photography, and I really like my own cooking.

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